Peter Obid, Tamás Fekete, Philipp Drees, Daniel Haschtmann, Frank Kleinstück, Markus Loibl, Dezsö Jeszenszky

October 2021, Volume 30, Issue 10, pp 2915 - 2924 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06946-6

First Online: 02 August 2021


Chordomas are rare tumors with an annual incidence of approximately one per million. Chordomas rarely metastasize but show a high local recurrence rate. Therefore, these patients present a major clinical challenge, and there is a paucity of the literature regarding the outcome after revision surgery of cervical spine chordomas. Available studies suggest a significantly worse outcome in revision scenarios. The purpose of this study is to analyze the survival rate, and complications of patients that underwent revision surgery for local recurrence or incomplete resection of chordoma at the craniocervical junction or at the cervical spine.


24 consecutive patients that underwent revision surgery for cervical spine chordoma remnants or recurrence at a single center were reviewed retrospectively. We analyzed patient-specific surgical treatment strategies, complications, and outcome. Kaplan–Meier estimator was used to analyze five-year overall survival.


Gross total resection was achieved in 17 cases. Seven patients developed dehiscence of the pharyngeal wall, being the most common long-term complication. No instability was observed. Postoperatively, four patients received proton beam radiotherapy and 12 patients had combined photon and proton beam radiotherapy. The five-year overall survival rate was 72.6%.


With thorough preoperative planning, appropriate surgical techniques, and the addition of adjuvant radiotherapy, results similar to those in primary surgery can be achieved.

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